An Inspirational Quote
“As with everything else in the American culture, people think that exercise is something that they should be doing fast and furiously. And most Americans believe that the more cardiovascular/stimulating exercise they do, the longer they will live, the better their heart will function and the more fat they will burn. All of these beliefs are 180 degrees off the mark. The more cardiovascular exercise you do, the faster you will age and the more heart attacks you can expect. And the only type of weight loss you will successfully achieve is the loss of your functional and structural proteins and fats.”
Dr. Diana Schwarzbein, M.D., The Schwarzbein Principle II
One of the most important things you can ever do to heal your body is to build muscle.
Building muscle is vitally important to all those of us who are concerned about our long term health, but it is an issue that usually only body builders and a few professional athletes discuss, much less ever think about.
One of the causes as well as symptom of the aging process is sarcopenia, or muscle loss.
If you don’t do anything about it, this loss of muscle mass as you age leads not only to overall weakness but is a direct cause of decreasing your overall metabolic rate. Simply put, muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more lean mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate. That is why many people at 40, 50 or 60 who eat the same way they did in their 20s are frustrated to discover they don’t look the same way they did when they were eating much less carefully.
Most women never even think about muscle. As a woman who listens to other women day in and day out on a professional basis, I can attest that most think about just three numbers – the number on their bathroom scale, their dress size and their jeans size. If the number on the scale goes down, they feel happy, never giving a single to thought to whether they are losing actual fat or the lean body mass that supports their metabolism.
When they do exercise, most women are more comfortable with aerobic exercise. Excessive high intensity aerobic exercise can actually decrease muscle mass if your heart rate continuously exceeds 90 beats per minute and is a waste of time for actually building muscle.
This is a major mistake.
Many women avoid the weight rooms of the world because we have a hard time finding anyone there who looks the way we really want to look (i.e., most weight rooms are dominated by the guys) or who acts the way we prefer to behave.
I am currently 50 years old, not a hulk, and weight training is the most important part of my workout plan.
An even better example is my colleague Ru-tee Block of London, England, a former spokes model for Adidas. You could also be inspired by photos of Tosca Reno, author of The Eat Clean Diet, and Michelle Obama, who lifts weights with President Obama.
Whether you are a man or a woman, choosing the appropriate exercise to build muscle and maintain your anabolic drive will keep you looking lean and feeling fit and boost your metabolism.
The small segment of our society that does pay attention to muscle mass, the body building community as well as a few professional athletes, sometimes turns to steroids to build or maintain muscle.
The most commonly abused steroids include Anadrol (oxymetholone),Oxandrin (oxandrolone), Dianabol (methandrostenolone) and Winstrol (stanozolol), all oral steroids, and Deca-Durabolin (nandrolone decanoate), Durabolin (nandrolone phenpropionate), Depo-Testosterone (testosterone cypionate) and Equipoise (boldenone undecylenate), all injectables. In addition to taking pills or injections, steroids may also be rubbed into the skin in the form of gels or creams.
If you are taking any steroids and want to understand their side effects, I recommend you visit www.rxlist.com. Some of the common side effects of steroids include breast development in men, shrinking of the testicles, male-pattern baldness, irritability, aggression, liver cancer, heart attacks, acne, mania, homicidal rage and high cholesterol.
Withdrawal symptoms may include mood swings, fatigue, restlessness and depression. If you have been taking steroids, make an appointment and ask me how you can detoxify from them. One of my dearest friends died of a stroke at age 37 after abusing injectable steroids, so I am particularly passionate about helping others avoid his mistake.
The use of drugs to enhance performance is considered unethical by most professional sports organizations, including the International Olympic Committee.
Aside from the ethical and legal issues involved, the people who abuse steroids, whether they be high school amateurs or professional athletes, are often overlooking or simply unaware of other more self-sustaining and health promoting methods to build muscle.
Here are a few concrete steps you can take to build muscle without steroids:
Have your metabolism scientifically assessed. Many people do not really know what the word metabolism means. Your metabolism is simply the sum total of the building up and breaking down processes in your body. Under the age of 35, 20-30 percent of people have a damaged metabolism. Over the age of 35, 70-80 percent of people have a damaged metabolism. If you have a damaged metabolism, that means you are breaking down your muscle tissue and aging fast, which means you are catabolic, and you will find it difficult if not impossible to build muscle, which requires you to be anabolic. If you try to engage in an exercise program without accurately understanding where you stand, you may spend years in the gym and look no different than you do now.
Understand that there are two factors that lead to a damaged metabolism, adrenal burnout and insulin resistance. Here at Total Fitness, I encourage every new client to have their adrenal glands scientifically assessed because chronic stress is pandemic in our society. The stress hormone cortisol breaks down muscle tissue. With insulin insensitivity, many people are not technically type II diabetics but the chronic stress in their lives coupled with fast food diets makes it difficult for them to maintain ideal blood sugars. In this day and age, if you can’t build muscle or lose weight, trust me there are scientific lab tests that can identify precisely which aspect of your metabolism doesn’t work and show you exactly what you need to do to get better.
Eat five to six small glycemically balanced meals every day. In order to build muscle, you will need to work towards rebuilding or maintaining healthy adrenal gland function and rebuilding or maintaining insulin sensitivity. You can’t heal your adrenal glands if your blood sugar is constantly bouncing throughout the day. That’s because your body secretes the stress hormone cortisol every time your blood sugar drops. To keep your blood sugar balanced, you must include protein at every mini meal.
Lift weights for 30 to 45 minutes two to three times a week and finish your strength training sessions by consuming protein within 30 minutes of your workouts. In fact, your post workout protein shake or meal should be considered part of your workout. Most people who lift weights know they have to consume protein, but even those engaging in high intensity aerobic exercise may need to supplement with protein shakes if the quantity and intensity of their exercise is causing them to become catabolic. I have used protein supplements with a triathlete competing in an ironman competition as well as track and field athletes running 50 miles per week.
Focus on eating a diet that is actually healthy. I see people all the time who only think they are eating healthy. Meanwhile, they are drinking diet sodas, living on protein bars or synthetic protein shakes they can’t digest, microwaving their processed foods, eating hydrogenated fats and wondering why they still look the same and feel terrible. A good place to start eating healthy is by downloading our free shopping list at the following link: http://www.totalfitness.net/nutrition%20recipes.htm Shopping List For Worlds Healthiest Foods.
Eliminate inflammation by choosing an anti-inflammatory diet and taking natural anti-inflammatories if necessary. I frequently go on and on about inflammation, only to realize that I might as well be speaking Greek without further explanation. Years ago, I was trying to explain to one of my clients why he needed to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. He had lived through not just one but three open heart surgeries. “I am not inflamed!” he exclaimed. In my mind, I thought, “You are the most inflamed client I have.” About a year later, he brought in an article that explained the connection between heart disease and inflammation of the heart. It took awhile, but he got it. Here’s the bottom line: If you are eating any foods that cause inflammation, your body is releasing the stress hormone cortisol, which is the most catabolic hormone in the body. The top three food groups that cause inflammation are gluten, alcoholic beverages and hydrogenated fats. Check out the website www.nutritiondata.com. It gives ranking for foods that cause inflammation, with high negative numbers, such as for french fries, as being the worst offenders. The top natural anti-inflammatories include an adequate quantity of pure filtered water, omega 3 fatty acids and natural substances like ginger, curcumin and L-glutamine.
Heal your digestive tract. I would estimate that at least 80 percent of my new clients are experiencing some sort of digestive challenge. If you can’t assimilate the nutrients you need to build muscle, your hard workouts may lead to nothing. Parasites, candida, bad bacteria, h. pylori, food allergies, inflammation and/or incomplete digestion may be easily identified through lab testing.
Once you are sure you can actually digest and absorb your food, make sure you are actually eating enough protein, beginning with breakfast. The first 40 grams of protein you eat every day goes to rebuild your immune system. If you are not rebuilding your immune system, you will have a hard time rebuilding your brain chemistry to be happy and think straight and you will definitely not be able to build muscle. Your most important meal of the day is breakfast. Your second most important meal is your post-workout meal. How much protein you actually need will depend on your metabolic health, your digestive health and your activity level.
Take supplements. You simply can’t get all the nutrients you need from food if you have a damaged metabolism, if you are engaged in high intensity training or if you are trying to correct an underlying health challenge. Lab testing can help you identify which nutrients you need to help heal specific aspects of your metabolism. You can visit our webstore at http://www.totalfitness.net/1ShoppingCatalog/nutrition_products.html. Take a special look at Biodetox GHI, an anti-inflammatory rice-based protein shake, Omega Plus, and either Healthy Whey, an organic milk-based protein powder, or Immunomax, which is dairy-free, and Total Multi. Ask your Total Fitness practitioner to determine what else you might need. If you study the body, you will learn that every muscle in your body is directly related to a particular organ. Remember that you can only look as good on the outside as your organs are healthy on the inside.
Once you are eating well, remember to get enough rest and make sure you are not overtraining. Go to bed by 10 p.m. every night. If you are not eating and sleeping well enough and you are still exercising, you are definitely overtraining. Remember that the more you exercise, the better you have to eat and the more carefully you have to plan your rest and recovery to avoid overtraining. Many people think building muscle is simply a matter of hitting the gym as hard as they possibly can. Again, this is a major mistake. You must keep your exercise balanced with adequate nutrition and enough rest to allow your muscles to rebuild.
As you can see, the process of building muscle requires an approach that takes into account all aspects of your personal well-being. If you are stuck at any point, make an appointment with a Total Fitness practitioner and we will do critical point analysis to help you move forward.
What would a day’s meals look like if you were trying to build muscle? Here’s one example:
Breakfast: Vegetable scramble, eggs, broccoli, spinach and feta cheese, roasted potatoes
Snack: Fresh blueberries and almonds
Lunch: Grilled salmon, three bean salad with kidney, green and yellow beans with purple onions and red peppers in cider vinegar and olive oil
Post Workout Protein Shake: Biodetox and Immunomax stirred into pomegranate blueberry goat kefir
Dinner: Grilled lamb chops, brown rice, grilled zucchini, mixed green salad with vinaigrette
Total Fitness Donates Yoga Proceeds To The Atlanta Community Food Bank
One hundred percent of the proceeds from our evening November yoga classes has been donated to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, www.acfb.org. The food bank has experienced a 10 percent increase in demand over the last year, so we also formed a canned food drive so all our clients and students can pitch in. If you would like to donate, you can receive a recyclable grocery bag with the Atlanta Community Food Bank logo on it for every 10 can foods you donate. To arrange a pick up and get your free grocery bag, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.